Published on July 1, 2005 in Cancer Res. volume 65(13).
PubMed ID: 15994936
An increased level of dihydrouridine in tRNA(Phe) was found in human malignant tissues nearly three decades ago, but its biological significance in carcinogenesis has remained unclear. Through analysis of genome-wide gene-expression profiles among non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC), we identified overexpression of a novel human gene, termed hDUS2, encoding a protein that shared structural features with tRNA-dihydrouridine synthases (DUS). The deduced 493-amino-acid sequence showed 39% homology to the dihydrouridine synthase 2 enzyme (Dus2) of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and contained a conserved double-strand RNA-binding motif (DSRM). We found that hDUS2 protein had tRNA-DUS activity and that it physically interacted with EPRS, a glutamyl-prolyl tRNA synthetase, and was likely to enhance translational efficiencies. A small interfering RNA against hDUS2 transfected into NSCLC cells suppressed expression of the gene, reduced the amount of dihydrouridine in tRNA molecules, and suppressed growth. Immunohistochemical analysis showed significant association between higher levels of hDUS2 in tumors and poorer prognosis of lung cancer patients. Our data imply that up-regulation of hDUS2 is a relatively common feature of pulmonary carcinogenesis and that selective suppression of hDUS2 enzyme activity and/or inhibition of formation of the hDUS2-tRNA synthetase complex could be a promising therapeutic strategy for treatment of many lung cancers.